I do seem to be posting quite an abundance of bean recipes lately, don't I? I suppose this is for a multitude of reasons - beans are a protein-packed, Lent-friendly ingredient Zach loves (and he decided to go strictly vegetarian for Lent this year), they are incredibly economical in this time when we find ourselves saving for far more medical bills than we ever anticipated at our supposedly young and carefree ages, and perhaps most of all, it's been unusually cold this winter, and beans dishes just seem so suited to days when the wind is howling and you long to curl up with a bowl of something warm and delicious!
This particular bean dish, though, is special for yet another reason altogether... My wonderful, oft-mentioned friend Kathleen, knowing of our nearly worshipful fondness for Trader Joe's, sent me the most perfect birthday gift at the beginning of the month: A copy of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook! Thank you, Kathleen!!
This fanciful, shimmering cookbook is truly a feast for the senses... Wittily written, this diverse collection of recipes celebrates the cornucopia of fresh fruits, vegetables, and ingredients tucked within the walls of Trader Joes' groceries. I've seen many a Trader Joe's-themed cookbook before, but what I adore about this one is most of the recipes don't actually require ingredients only to be found at Trader Joe's, leaving one with options if one is suddenly struck by inspiration at 8PM but lives half an hour away from the closest Trader Joe's, as we do, but they definitely embody the healthful, joy de vivre Trader Joe's spirit.
Where to begin? Every time I curl up with the cookbook for some contented culinary browsing, planning the next evening menu, I find myself enticed by visions of pesto, miniature sandwiches, and tarts galore. Already, I've fixed soup (using the Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper soup as a velvety base), an artichoke pasta, and several tempting appetizers for festive tapas-style meals, but on Monday night, battling my way home to the front door amidst a stiff wind and the occasional flurry of snow (snow?! In Georgia?! At the end of March?!), I found myself drawn towards red beans... with roasted tomatoes... in a deep, earthy broth with red wine and hints of cumin...
Feeling warmer already...
Red Bean and Tomato Stew
(Adapted from The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook)
2 T light nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (such as SmartBalance Light)
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (I used a Shiraz)
2 cups vegetable broth
3 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, not drained
1 tsp cumin
Fat free Greek yogurt, for garnish (optional - leave out for the vegan version)
~ In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the vegan marg and saute the onion, shallots, and garlic until the onions are limp and translucent.
~ Stir in the red wine, broth, red beans, roasted tomatoes, and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are quite tender and you're ready to serve the soup...
~ For the vegan version, serve straight-up, cozy and steaming and luscious... For the non-vegan version, serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt!
On the blog this time last year... Golden Chickpea and Spinach Salad!